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Avoid Being Scammed: Don’t Abbreviate ‘2020’

If you usually date signed documents as “1/7/20,” make it “1/7/2020.” Empty space behind the first “20” makes it easy for scammers to change document dates.

NEW YORK – Security officials are warning consumers not to abbreviate “2020” in official documents. They say the shorter “20” can make it easy for scammers to commit forgery. They say the abbreviation makes it easy for scammers to change out the numbers on paperwork. For example, if you write a date like “1/3/20,” scammers could change it to “1/3/2000” or 1/3/2021.”

Instead, write out the full year as “1/3/2020” or, better yet, write out the name of the month as well to read “January 3, 2020.” It “could possibly protect you and prevent legal issues on paperwork,” Dusty Rhodes, a Hamilton County, Ohio, auditor told the USA Today Network.

Why would scammers change a date? They could seek to establish an unpaid debt or attempt to cash an old check.

Police departments across the country have urged the public to write out the year.

“This is very sound advice and should be considered when signing any legal or professional document,” the East Millinocket Police Department in Maine wrote in a Facebook post. “It could potentially save you some trouble down the road.”

Source: “Stop Abbreviating 2020. Police Say it Leaves You Open to Fraud and Could Cost You Big,” USA Today Network (Jan. 2, 2020)

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